Algeria. Egypt. Mexico. Czech Republic. These are the first four countries to have benefitted from the RS:X Emerging Nations Program which looks to build on the success of the World Sailing initiative for encouraging sailors for new nations to build skills and confidence in the sport.
The RS:X Class ran a two week session with seven female sailors looking to build on the technical side of windsurfing as well as the tactical racing side of the sport – before putting this all into practice during the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar Olympics Classes regatta held in Mallorca between 1st April through to the 6th April.
Diederik Baker (NED), is the Coaches Representative on the RS:X Executive and has been one of the driving forces behind the project. Baker, “We have had some pretty full days over the past two weeks. The first week really focused on learning and developing in a fun environment. We would start with a brief for the day, then head to the water where we looked at sail trim, body positioning and different settings of equipment. The first two days we had up to 30 knots of wind and all of the girls didn’t really want to go out. But we showed them how by setting up the sails and equipment correctly that they can handle the RS:X easily in those conditions.”
“We would then do some race training in the afternoon where the girls would learn about how to control the board on a start line whilst thinking about tactics and some of the different rules they would need to be aware of. Some other nations would come out and join us which was also good for the girls confidence by sailing against some of the best sailors in Europe.”
After the first week of training the sailors; of whom three were Algerian, two Mexican, one Egyptian and one Czech, took part in the fleet of 49 women racing at the Olympic Classes regatta in Mallorca. It was to prove an excellent method of putting lessons learnt into practice in a pressure environment. Baker commented, “The sailors did really well. We were practicing with ten sailors on the line in the first week and then jumped to nearly 50 sailors during the regatta – so it was a big jump but they did really well to cope and it was encouraging to see them get better each day and learn. It was a tough regatta which really tested the fitness the first few days, where our sailors had already a week of long days on the water so they were very tired by the end of the two weeks.”
And it was not only the sailors that benefitted from the Emerging Nations Program, as a coach from both Algeria and Egypt also spent some time with Baker. Both coaches were given new ideas on drills and training weeks so they can continue the development of the sailors once back in their home countries. Videos of the sessions were also given to the sailors so they can review and study the material for the future.
Andrus Poksi, RS:X Executive Secretary, “This program has been a huge success for the RS:X Class and a big thanks goes to Diederik for his time in making this happen. We really wanted a way of spreading the joy of the RS:X Class and sailing to other new countries and give them the skills to take part in windsurfing at a high level. We will definitely be looking to repeat this again in the future!”
Diederik Baker closed by commenting, “The sailors were super stoked to be able to get some dedicated training and support ahead of the Palma regatta. They learnt lots as a group together and I am sure one of this group will be going to Tokyo 2020. Hopefully they will also be able to go back to their home countries and spread some of the knowledge they have gained and encourage more people to go windsurfing”.
For further information on how to get involved in the RS:X Class Emerging Nations Program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Text & Photo: RS:X Class